Astros headed back to Lake Charles

By By Rhett Manuel / American Press

The Houston Astros are coming back to the Lake Area.

Returning for the first time in several years, the Houston Astros Winter Caravan is rolling through Lake Charles today.

The City used to be an annual stop on the tour much like it is with LSU coaches.

The event, part of the organization’s community outreach effort, will make stops in 31 cities this week in Texas, Oklahoma

and Louisiana. The first stage of today’s events kick off at 10:30 a.m. at the Lake Charles Civic Center with a flag raising before going to the Nelson Road Chick-Fil-A from

2:15-3:15 p.m. for a public meet-and-greet.

According to Houston officials the tour’s return to Lake Charles is part of the organization’s attempt to raise it profile

outside of Houston.

The Astros have struggled of late, losing at least 100 games each of the last three seasons.

Five members of the organizations — from both the major league and minor league levels — will be in town. The biggest of names

will be first baseman Brett Wallace, who is expected to man that position on Opening Day.

Wallace will be joined by closer Josh Fields, relief pitcher Josh Zeid, former Astros outfielder James Mouton and radio color

analyst Steve Sparks.

Wallace set a career-high with 13 home runs in 79 games played last season. Fields appeared in 41 games and made five saves

with a 4.97 ERA. He assumed those duties after Jose Veras was traded to the Detroit Tigers and is expected to be Houston’s

Opening Day closer.

Zeid had 25 appearances, a 3.90 ERA and six holds.

The Caravan will be in five other cities today. Other groups affiliated with the organization will make stops in San Antonio,

Alvin, , Houston, Pearland and League City during the Texas swing.

The tour will also make two more stops in Louisiana on Wednesday, traveling to Baton Rouge and Lafayette, and will continue

to tour throughout the region before concluding next Monday in Oklahoma City, Okla.